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Australian general practitioners (GPs) believe that the government's deferral of listing new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will hurt the quality of treatment that patients receive, according to research conducted by Kantar Health, a leading healthcare-focused global consultancy and marketing insights company. In addition, half of the GPs said the changes would have a negative impact on how they practice medicine.
"The government has decided to defer the listing of some medicines on the PBS, despite positive recommendations for those medicines from the Pharmaceutical Benefit Advisory Committee (PBAC), until the budget is back in surplus," says Dr. Vince Grillo, General Manager of Kantar Health, Australia. "The GPs we surveyed expressed concern that the deferrals would lead to a lack of drug access, which in turn would cause a negative impact on patient outcomes. They're worried they'll need to prescribe medications based on cost rather than on the best medical treatment available. This may lead to a considerable financial burden on patients if they want to get the treatments they need."
More than two-thirds of GPs surveyed by Kantar Health said that the changes to the PBS listing process would have a negative impact on the quality of treatment patients receive. Most commonly, they felt the changes meant that the best treatment option would not be available to patients.
Two-thirds of GPs also noted that the changes would cause long-term negative effects to the healthcare system. "While these measures may have cost savings in the short term, GPs were concerned about deterioration in patient health that may lead to higher healthcare costs over time," Dr. Grillo says. "They also worry that the lack of new and/or essential drugs might impact the general quality of Australia's healthcare system."